Norway - Still do Flam if we have a car?

Old Jan 11th, 2023, 11:31 AM
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Norway - Still do Flam if we have a car?

Hi - my husband and I are going to Norway for the first time in June. Flying into Oslo and out of Bergen 10 days later. We are planning 2 full days each in Oslo & Bergen and considering renting a car for 5 days/4 nights to travel between them. If we rent a car, we'd like to do some of the scenic drives like Gamle Strynefjellsvegen and visit Balestrand (or somewhere) for a boat cruise. Would you still recommend going to Flam and doing the railway - is it that unique? Or is it more for Norway in a Nutshell people who are visiting the area by train and don't have the opportunity for scenic drives since they're limited to convenient public transport connections?

On the other hand, if renting a car is a hassle and it would be easier/significantly less expensive to do the standard Norway in a Nutshell via train/boat/bus, maybe breaking up the itinerary with some overnights along the way - we're open to that too. We were comfortable driving in Iceland, if it's similar.
Thanks so much.
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Old Feb 17th, 2023, 07:53 AM
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Trying this one more time. We booked AirBnBs in Oslo and Bergen so are thinking of renting a car from Sunday June 18 - Wednesday June 21. Is something like this too ambitious? Thanks everyone.
  • Sun: Drive Oslo to Grotli area, maybe stop in Lillehammer since we like the Olympics if worth it. Seems like this will be around 6.5 hours.
  • Mon: Drive scenic Gamle Strynefjellsvegen road to LOEN skylift, maybe about a 2 hour drive, do the skylift, then scenic Gaularfjellet to Balestrand, another 4 hours or so. I'm not sure how long the skylift takes but it looks neat.
  • Tue: Drive to Flam, looks like about 3 hours via the Vangsnes-Drasknik ferry assuming we can take the car on it. Flam railway then spend the night in Flam or somewhere near like Undredal.
  • Wed: Scenic Hardangerfjord route to Bergen, looks like about 4 hours.
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Old Feb 17th, 2023, 08:19 AM
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The Flam train ride is not essential if you drive in the fjord area unless you are a train fanatic. On the other hand, given the limited amount of time you are traveling ;outside the cities, taking the train and other public transportation might be a good way to see the fjord area. The Norway in a Nutshell package is simply a connection of public train, ferry and bus.

https://flic.kr/p/7qozVi
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Old Feb 19th, 2023, 06:14 AM
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Thanks Michael. I priced Norway in a Nutshell spread out over 4 days with a couple of RIB boat side adventures to see more of the fjords, and it came out to about $1000 USD for 2 people without hotel cost figured in. The car rental is around $500 so I was leaning that way since it gives us greater flexibility. I know gas is expensive and there will be tolls, but I figured it would end up costing less...or at least not more.
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Old Feb 19th, 2023, 04:24 PM
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I've taken the trip from Gudvangen to Flåm a couple of times and love the beauty of the fjords and peacefulness of the ride on the electric ferry. The Flåm Railway is nice, but hardly a must-do. You're not going to be shortchanged if you decide to pass.
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Old Feb 19th, 2023, 10:32 PM
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We did not do the Flam Railway last June but did drive Bergen to Flam through the Hardangerfjord. scenic route. Heavy rain through most of the day. Rain is apparently quite common on the coast of Norway. Stayed at Freitheim hotel. Took the early morning Flam to Gudvagen ferry. Left Flam around noon to travel the Aurlandsfjellet to the Borgund Stave church. Continued on to Balestrand where we spent the night. Drove next day via Gaularfjellet to Bergen with a stop at Likholefossen for a hike. Really enjoyed the Gaularfjellet and the hike. Stayed at the Radisson Blu hotel in Bergen which was quite reasonable with a decent $13 breakfast with great location. It's not the Four Seasons but quite inexpensive, clean and quite livable. A bargain for Norway.
I was told that the Flam railway was not necessary as we had a car to tour the area and I suspect that is correct. There is daylight from about 0400 to 2300 during June so you have plenty of light for driving. Would not want to drive any of these roads at night even with GPS.
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Old Feb 20th, 2023, 04:27 AM
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Thank you - this is so helpful. Will rework the itinerary skipping the Flam railway. Good to know about the rain on the West coast...we live in Pittsburgh so we get a lot of rain too. And thanks for the hiking and lodging tips!
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Old Feb 20th, 2023, 08:18 AM
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I used to live in Pittsburgh too for a few years and the rain is heavier and there is much more if in Bergen. Pittsburgh gets about 39 inches of rain per year where Bergen gets almost 100 inches.
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